Friday, March 1, 2013

Find Your Writing Voice in One Step



In a recent blog post, “7 Things Confident Writers Don’t Do,” Kristen Lamb first advises

            “Find your own voice and tell your own story.”

As we would be wise to do anything Kristen says, allow me to explore this first suggestion a bit more.

Find your voice...stand out from the crowd.
Image Courtesy of tigger11th / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the need to divide your time between actual writing and the business of Facebooking, tweeting, and blogging, the notion of finding your voice might like one more task for which you hardly have the time.

And more to the point, how do you know when you’ve found your own voice? Is it a matter of diction or genre? Is it what comes naturally or an elusive something requiring countless hours and several drafts to unearth?
As a writer whose manuscript was rejected in the past 30 days, I have pondered this question more often than I’d like to admit. I received no negative feedback on my novel’s voice, but the insecurity remains: how do I know I’ve found it?

Here's an effective method to confirm the discovery and a surefire way silence the internal critics who periodically pester you with such questions.

Reread what you have already written.

Journal entries, unmailed letters to former paramours, one-act plays, song lyrics, half-written novels--it doesn't matter what it is, as long as you wrote it.

Reread them not as an editor but as a reader seeking an evocative experience. Make note of the parts you skip versus the ones you read aloud for pleasure. Notice the lines that make you smile with pride or cringe in embarrassment. Meditate on what echoes in your heart, signifying on something innate with you.

And as you go along, something amazing will happen. Your instincts will ignite and talk to you, whispering,
“This is you.” 

“This is not you.” 

“This is you trying to be someone you’re not.” 

“This is you at your most authentic.”

Before long, you'll find yourself not only more confident in your voice but eager to tackle the next item on your to-write list, motivated by the opportunity to share your voice.

So if you’re looking for your writing voice, don’t look ahead. Look back at what you've done and let it speak to you. If you haven’t yet written enough to recognize your voice, keep writing. Your voice will soon be loud enough for your soul to hear and strong enough for your readers to appreciate. 

2 comments:

  1. I'm still struggling to find my voice. I seem to alter it to fit the story line. If I look back across all my work, I'm all over the place with different narrative styles.

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  2. Hey Denise,
    Angela Gracey (Tony's wife). I love the post. My genre is mostly Christian non-fiction, so I'm not sure if this is accurate, but I always seem to build my message around testimony - mine or someone else's - mostly mine. But no matter what I write, the "teacher" in me is there. I'm always teaching; even when I don't mean to, that gifting emerges. Is this what is meant by "voice"?

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